French religious veil ban comes into effect

France’s ban on wearing Islamic face veils in public officially came into effect Monday. This is the first ban of its kind in the world. Those wearing the religious niqab or burka in public will have to pay a fine of 150 euros, which amounts to about 200 Canadian.

Police have said enforcing the ban will be difficult. The French government believes that the law is to protect the fundamental principles of secularism and gender equality. Meanwhile, many are denouncing the law as Islamophobic and racist.

Protests have been taking place all over the country. Those at a protest in Notre Dame Monday said the ban is an affront to their freedom of expression and religion. Islam is France’s second most popular religion with 5 million practicing Muslims.